Tri for Joe

We kick off the racing season with our Annual Tri for Joe at Coney Island Park - a great race for first-time triathletes.  What began as an event Tom Gerstle and his family created to honor their son, Joe who has Down syndrome, is now headed into its 9th year as a fun, family-friendly racing celebration in the Cincinnati community. The Tri consists of a 500 meter swim in the largest flat surface pool in North America, 20k bike along Kellogg Avenue, and a 5k run inside the famous Coney Island Amusement Park! But this event is not just for triathletes!  Tri for Joe has it all: triathlon, duathlon, aqua bike, separate 5k run/walk and a Kids Fun Run. Form a relay team and compete with friends and family. You don’t have to be a seasoned triathlete to come out and enjoy the fun! 

Click here to view photos from the 2014 Tri for Joe!


This event is inspired by, and in honor of our son Joe.  When Joe was born in August of 2003, we were shocked to learn he had Down syndrome.  Even more devastating was finding out that he had a serious heart defect.  The first few months were difficult.  Joe came home on oxygen after 5 days in the Good Sam Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  He soon developed congestive heart failure as a result of the defect, which was managed with medicines while we worked hard to help him gain weight after surgery.  At 5 and 1/2 months of age he had open heart surgery to repair his heart.  Joe’s recovery from this major surgery amazed us and he hasn’t stopped amazing us since.  Joe is a happy, healthy 9 year old who swims, rides his bike, runs and enjoys school. 

In all of this, the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati has been a great support to us. Within hours of Joe’s birth they provided informational packets to us, our family and friends.  We have attended monthly meetings with guest speakers on a variety of topics for parents of children with Down syndrome.  We have borrowed dozens of books, audio tapes, and DVD’s from their free lending library on a wide range of topics from heart defects, to sign language, to
financial planning. 

We have benefited so much from the friendships, support and education that are all a result of this great organization.  We are honored that the Down Syndrome Association continues to celebrate Joe and all individuals with Down syndrome. 

The Gerstle Family
Tom, Jennifer, Joe, Anna and Lydia